Archive | October 2016

October 19 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

carrots, celery, gourmet greens, leeks, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, turnips, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

Looking for the perfect remedy for those rainy day blues? An(other) Oktoberfest celebration! After all, it only rolls around once a year. Let’s do like the Germans do – cook (and eat, and drink!) up a storm, paying tribute to the local customs and the season. It’s truly amazing what you can dream up with a trip to the farmer’s market, and the beer aisle. Prost!

Wednesday – cheater’s version vindaloo

potato chickpea vindaloo
basmati rice
sukhi’s somosas
naan

Thursday – tacos, kind of

southwestern stuffed  squash (Jessie Price, Eating Well in Season)
corn tortillas

Friday – TV trays, late-night comedy, & pizza

pizza with red and yellow peppers (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

brown sugar carrot bread with almonds (Mark Bittman)

Saturday – oktoberfest, gourmet style

german pretzels with warm beer and cheddar dip (Williams-Sonoma)
potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce (Williams-Sonoma)
sausage sampling with german mustards

apple-kohlrabi slaw (Strawberry Plum)
beer and bacon braised collard greens (Food 52)
spaetzle (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
rouladen (Saveur)

chocolate stout cake (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

Sunday – did someone say “pot pie”?!?

chicken and root vegetable pot pie (Cooking Light)
simple greens with red wine vinaigrette (Martha Stewart)

Monday – celery for supper

cream of celery soup (The Kitchn)
chopped salad (Gourmet)
favorite bakery bread

Tuesday weeknight bento secret

japanese turnips with miso (Gourmet)
choose-your-own-bento

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Wednesday –  cheater’s version vindaloo

potato chickpea vindaloo
basmati rice
sukhi’s somosas
naan

I do love to cook Indian food from scratch, but sometimes, a made-by-someone-else sauce is just the ticket to a delicious weeknight dinner. I’ve discovered Maya Kamal sauces in the refrigerator section of several local stores. Coconut curry, tikka masala, and vindaloo…all three capture the deep flavors of fine Indian cooking. The maker of the sauces, Maya, is an award-winning cookbook author turned cook and producer of home-style Indian foods packaged for the home consumer. Tonight, I’m going with the vindaloo sauce, simmering small chunks of my farm fresh potatoes along with a can of garbanzo beans for a very traditional combination. Add whatever veggies or meat you like, that’s the beauty of these sauces. Often, at the end of cooking, I stir in a bag of pre-washed spinach for added color, flavor, and nutrition. Ladle the stew over a nice wide bowl of basmati rice, and sprinkle with cilantro if you’ve got it – YUM! I’ll add naan, either from a restaurant, food cart, or the freezer section of Trader Joe’s (my favorite go-to!). And whenever we eat Indian now, we can’t resist these samosas  – a delightful Indian street food, with a savory and perfectly spiced filling wrapped up in a delicate crust. These even come with a spicy, cilantro chutney for dipping. Find them at New Seasons in the freezer section. 

Thursday – tacos, kind of

southwestern stuffed  squash (Jessie Price, Eating Well in Season)
corn tortillas

Everyone loves Mexican night, yes? I’ll stuff winter squash halves of any variety, often leaving out the sausage and adding more vegetables. This week, I’ll use my creamy sweet delicata squash. You can throw the squash in the oven for roasting anytime (I often do this in the morning!); then all that’s left during the dinnertime rush is the filling and warming. I’ll use my onion, carrots, sweet peppers, and a can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes. Any cheese you usually like with Mexican works here. We love this with some warm corn tortillas, sliced avocados and salsa. I can’t quite pass it off as “taco night”, but it’s close! Scoop any leftovers out, filling and all, wrap it in a flour tortilla, and it’s a perfect lunchbox burrito!

Friday – TV trays, late-night comedy, & pizza

pizza with red and yellow peppers (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

brown sugar carrot bread with almonds (Mark Bittman)

We’ve switched gears on movie night, choosing instead to watch the past week’s late-night comedy. It’s a brilliant way to weave a bit of comic relief into these otherwise anxiety producing political times! Combined with pizza night, what could be better?!? Leave it to Alice Waters to have this pizza as part of her Chez Panisse Vegetable collection. Simple and gorgeous and healthy (as pizzas go…). Deb has done amazing justice in splendid photos – with peppers like this (and like I’ve got!) not much enhancing is needed. Since I’m a use-what-you-have kind of gal, I’m going with my sweet peppers, and little thinly sliced onion. She makes a little salad out of this, with some red wine vinegar and EVOO, tossing it together before spreading it over the lightly-mozzarella-ed pizza crust. I see her point about it ensuring it doesn’t become topping-heavy. No one likes to pick up a slice of pizza, only to have the whole top go tumbling onto your lap.This is a pizza ripe for some crumbled Italian sausage. Follow this previous Pizza Night post for a no-fail dough recipe I rely on each week. It makes enough for two pizzas, even three if rolled out in the super thin, best-for-crispy-pizza style. For dessert, it’s a great time to make a dent in some of those carrots. I’ll make this Mark Bittman breakfast/snacking bread, from his series of fruit (& veggie!) and nut breads. It’s chock-full of carrots, making it super moist, and contains the surprising crunch of toasted almonds. Brown sugar adds just the right molassesy sweetness, with a splash of orange juice providing the zing. Customize the flour mixture as you wish depending on the density you prefer. This surely will be a go-to for a tasty breakfast, toasted with some butter or honey, or a fabulous on the go snack.

Other seasonal pizza combinations:

spinach and chive pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
zucchini, sliced tomato, & leek pizza 
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
fresh ricotta and red onion pizza
sweet onion pizza
pizza with grilled fennel and parmesan
eggplant & tomato pizza
caramelized onion, kale, & corn flatbread
classic margherita pizza
potato & rosemary pizza

Saturday – oktoberfest, gourmet style

german pretzels with warm beer and cheddar dip (Williams-Sonoma)
potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce (Williams-Sonoma)
sausage sampling with german mustards

apple-kohlrabi slaw (Strawberry Plum)
beer and bacon braised collard greens (Food 52)
spaetzle (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
rouladen (Saveur)

chocolate stout cake (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

We already (over)indulged in our annual trip to Reinlander, serving authentic German fare in Portland for decades. It’s cozy, kitschy ambience is perfect for Oktoberfest, minus the Munich. Now I’m taking it Gourmet style…my crazy foodie group is going full bore, in our own kitchens. We’ll start with Fressen Bakery’s wonderful German pretzels, dipped in a decadent cheesy sauce laced with, what else, beer. The  potato pancakes, made miniature and served with homemade northwest applesauce and sour cream are another traditional delight. To round out the appetizers, a hearty sampling of locally made bratwurst, weisswurst, bockwurst, and the like. Don’t forget the German mustard! For the main event, I’m serving rouladen, a very traditional German dish, which is simply mustard, pickles, bacon, and onion rolled up in thinly sliced beef which is browned and cooked in a red wine beef broth sauce. It will be served alongside homemade spaetzle, a German specialty which is a combo dumpling/pasta, tossed with herbs and cheese. For a veggie side, I’ll make these braised collard greens. it’ll be right at home in this German dinner, given the bacon, onion, and beer additions. The slaw will make a great counterpoint to all of the soft, warm menu items. It features crunchy kohlrabi, crisp seasonal apples, and a honey mustard dressing with apple cider vinegar. For dessert, another home chef will be surprising us with a chocolate stout creation. Rumor has it, it’s this version from Smitten Kitchen – can you say, to die for?!?

Sunday –  did someone say “pot pie”?!?

chicken and root vegetable pot pie (Cooking Light)
simple greens with red wine vinaigrette (Martha Stewart)

Yeah! It’s pot pie season again, or at least I’m declaring it so. This is another recipe ripe to just use what you’ve got, and what you love, taking note of approximate quantities as you go along. My pot pie will have leeks, potatoes, carrots, and turnips –  just packed with farm fresh goodness. And even though it tastes sinfully thick, rich, and delicious, Cooking Light does a remarkable balancing act using just milk and flour as the thickener, and then topping it with the puff pastry treat. I’ll use my gourmet greens in a super simple salad to go alongside.

Monday – celery for supper

cream of celery soup (The Kitchn)
chopped salad (Gourmet)
favorite bakery bread

Yep, I’m going celery as the main dish. In this delectable cream of celery soup, the bacon adds just the right flavor and heft to make it feel like an entrée. This is an easy soup to prepare on a weeknight, with a minimal list of ingredients, including our farm fresh celery. It, along with an onion, some garlic, and thyme, are cooked in some bacon grease to begin. Add a chopped potato, and some stock and milk, and puree it all in the end – that’ it. The cooked bacon is then crumbled over the top of the soup for a tasty, elegant addition. Add a crusty bread for dipping and dunking and this chopped salad, packed with more celery, carrots, sweet peppers, and red onion. Croutons and black olives make mine a kid favorite!

Tuesday – weeknight bento secret

japanese turnips with miso (Gourmet)
choose-your-own-bento

If you live in Portland, of course you know Phil’s Uptown Meat Market. Deli-counter, coffee bar, butcher shop, wine stop, AND, the grill going outside, cooking up those delicious smelling and tasting kebabs. We’ve come to know them as bento boxes – little to-go containers piled high with rice and your choice of skewered beef, chicken, pork, veggies and even fish if you’re willing to wait a few minutes. In-house made marinades and sauces make these a winner of a quick lunch or dinner on the go. I like to bring home a couple bento boxes (you can also pick these up in many markets that have hot food delis…), and combine them with some Japanese-inspired veggie I’ll cook up at home. This week, I’ll cook up a ton of these mild, white turnips in some Japanese sweet rice wine, then swirl in a mixture of butter and miso paste. That’s all it takes to create this wonderfully textured and flavored asian dish. With the addition of the rice and skewer bento combo, it’s a healthy Japanese feast in a flash.

“What the Kale?!?”

Don’t panic and get out the compost bin if all of the sudden you have a giant veggie delivery coming your way, and you still have a fridge full.  Here are a few suggestions for preserving the bounty!  (Soups and stews freeze wonderfully in those gallon zip lock freezer bags.)

Urban Farm Table

using your local bounty every day

Epicurious.com: New Recipes

using your local bounty every day

101 Cookbooks

using your local bounty every day

Cook With What You Have

Cook delicious & healthy food every day

Sauvie Island Organics Farm Blog

using your local bounty every day

using your local bounty every day

Simply Recipes

using your local bounty every day

America's Test Kitchen

using your local bounty every day

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